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5 Must-See Films At TIFF 2015
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5 Must-See Films At TIFF 2015

Picture of Sasha Erfanian
Updated: 10 December 2015
This year may be the 40th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival, but the city’s premiere film event of the year is showing no signs of wear and tear as it shows off one of its strongest slates yet. Since the festival features everything from experimental cinema to action blockbusters and works from indie darlings to legendary luminaries, here’s just a small selection of the biggest movies coming to town in September.
Beasts of No Nation | © Courtesy of TIFF
Beasts of No Nation | © Courtesy of TIFF

Special Presentation — Beasts of No Nation

This Netflix-distributed war drama follows a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah in his first film role) from his parents’ murder to his induction into a vicious gang of mercenaries led by Idris Elba (Luther, The Wire, not James Bond), in a performance marked by his signature intensity. Directed and written over seven years by Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of the first season of True Detective, Beasts of No Nation promises to be a heart-wrencher and crowd-pleaser when it plays as a special presentation this fall. Check out the trailer here.

Remember | © Courtesy of TIFF
Remember | © Courtesy of TIFF

Gala Presentations — Remember

Directed by celebrated Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan (Exotica) and starring legendary Canadian actor Christopher Plummer (Barrymore, The Sound of Music), this revenge drama tells the story of an eighty-year-old Holocaust survivor who sets out to murder the Nazi who killed his family. Co-starring Martin Landau (North By Northwest, Ed Wood) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad, Sons of Liberty), Remember is a tense examination of the morality of vengeance and its cost. Plummer’s performance alone is worth the price of admission as he gives an incredibly vulnerable and conflicted performance, as can be seen in this trailer.

French Blood | © Courtesy of TIFF
French Blood | © Courtesy of TIFF

Platform — French Blood

One of the films up for Best Picture at this year’s festival, French Blood is an unyielding look into the heart of European Neo-Nazism through the eyes of a foot soldier in France’s Front Nationale as the group grows from a street gang to a political movement. Brutal and controversial — the French premiere was marred by cancellations caused by fears of violence by FN sympathizers — French Blood just might be the best movie about organized racism since American History X. Here is the trailer (WARNING: EXTREME CONTENT).

Barbados | © Courtesy of TIFF
Barbados | © Courtesy of TIFF

Short Cuts — Barbados

Not up for movies about Nazis, Neo-Nazis, or child soldiers? Buy a ticket for Barbados. This hilarious short film stars Michael Sheen and Radha Mitchell as a hapless suburban couple whose painfully banal existence is forever altered by a visit from the police. Produced by Funny or Die and shot in one day, this Short Cuts special presentation will have the audience rolling in the aisles during its seven-minute run time.

Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr | © Courtesy of TIFF
Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr | © Courtesy of TIFF

TIFF Docs — Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr

Recently released from Guantanamo Bay after thirteen years in captivity, Omar Khadr’s story has either been that of a psychotic fundamentalist or a child soldier indoctrinated by his family’s politics depending on who tells it. But in Guantanamo’s Child, directed by Toronto Star security reporter Michelle Shepard (based on her book Guantanamo’s Child: The Untold Story of Omar Khadr) and Patrick Reed, Khadr shares his perspective with the viewer from his capture in a 2002 firefight through his decade of courtroom struggles to his release on bail just last May.

By Sasha Erfanian Dow

Sasha Erfanian Dow is a recent graduate of Carleton University. Follow him on Twitter or check out his blog That’s Not a Moon Game Reviews to learn about the Marxist subtext of the Mushroom Kingdom.